Budgets passed and friends remembered

July 10th, 2015|

Budgets pass!

I am pleased to report that the 2015 legislative session(s) have come to an end. The Legislature passed biennial operating and capital budgets as well as a transportation investment package on June 30th to avoid a government shutdown.

The final budget-related bills passed the Senate yesterday. The House has to approve these final pieces today and then the Legislature will adjourn for the year.

Overall, these budgets invest in children and families, create jobs, provide opportunity, and build prosperity for Spokane.

Here are some highlights from each of the budgets:

Operating budget

The $38.2 billion two-year operating budget includes:

  • $1.3 billion in new funding for K-12 education
  • Funding to expand medical education in Spokane
  • Tuition cuts for Washington’s college students
  • Historic new investments in Early Learning

Capital budget

The two-year $4 billion capital budget includes construction or improvement funding for:

  • Women’s and Children Free Restaurant
  • Corbin Senior Center
  • Spokane Women’s Club
  • Mt. Spokane State Park
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Family Outreach Center
  • NEWTECH Skills Center

Transportation budget

This 16-year multi-modal package creates and retains over 200,000 jobs throughout the state and includes historic investments for the Spokane community including:

  • $750 million to complete the North Spokane Corridor to I-90
  • $8.8 million for the U-District Gateway Bridge Bike/Pedestrian Bridge
  • $15 million for the Central City Line, and $26 million for the Geiger/Medical Lake I-90 interchanges.
  • Increases in Safe Routes to School funding



Remembering Two Great Community Leaders

Dr. Elson Floyd

I was saddened by the unexpected death of Dr. Elson Floyd, the President of Washington State University. Dr. Floyd was a remarkable man and a true leader in our state who advocated on behalf of students and our entire state. He had the unique ability to be both gentle and firm at the same time, to encourage students to succeed and to make everyone feel important and valued. His passing is a huge loss for our entire state. We remembered Dr. Floyd on the Senate floor with a resolution in his honor. Click here to see my remarks about Dr. Floyd.

Julian Powers
We also recently lost another good friend and Spokane activist earlier this month. Julian Powers was a retired engineer who spent a large part of his life dedicated towards educating the Spokane community about environmental issues and why they should be concerned about out carbon emissions. We will miss you, Julian. Read more in this Spokesman Review Article.

Keeping in Touch

If you have a comment, idea, or question, please let me know. I would love to hear from you! You can reach me by e-mail at andy.billig@leg.wa.gov or by phone at 360-786-7604.

If you know someone who would like to receive their own copy of my weekly e-newsletter, tell them they can go to my website at http://www.senatedemocrats.wa.gov/senators/billig/ and click on the link to “Sign up for my e-newsletter.”